Well actually April and June as for some reason my copy of the May issue is nowhere to be found. It probably turned out to be the most newsworthy month of the year unlike April which apart from further additions to the ever growing cast of the anniversary special is scant on news. And still nothing about the enigmatic Tacecon! One of the more interesting things that CT always did was include press clippings and its surprising how much coverage Doctor Who got from the nationals in those days. You’d imagine a fair proportion of it came from the production office pro-actively pushing stories as the guest casts often included well known names of the time. For example Lynda Baron’s turn in `Enlightenment ` is the topic of a Daily Mirror piece reprinted this issue in which the actor discusses what real female pirates were like. Elsewhere there’s a piece about Mark Strickson joining the series and one concerning the Longleat Celebration event in which Lord Bath is seen signing the contract under duress from a Cyberman.
Amongst the plethora of adverts that make up the majority of the issue – nine fanzine ads include new titles `The Animus` and `Melkur`- there’s a couple of curiosities on the back page. One is called `The Doctor Who Cassette Cover Project` which offers an art cover for each story in this instance for the Second Doctor era. These pics are “stylishly drawn to make any collection 100 times better” we’re informed. The other ad is for 14 feet of Doctor Who transmission history which appears to be a list of all stories up to that point and other stats. If you wanted that you’d need to send 50p plus and an envelope at least 120mm by 310mm. I wonder how many people did?
In June's issue we learn of the departure of Janet Fielding with the declaration that Tegan has been probably the most popular companion since Sarah Jane Smith. Is that the case? I don’t recall people thinking that way but there you go. Also some episodes have been found that mean there’s now a colour copy of `Invasion of the Dinosaurs` of which there had hitherto only been a black and white copy. Official attendance figures for the Longeat event’s first day have been published; 34,000 people were there. There’s a photo of Eric Pringle looking chipper at his electric typewriter probably just after typing the Malus’ belching noises.
Its interesting that 1983 is still prior to the regular pub gathering of Doctor Who fans at the Fitzroy Tavern as Gordon mentions in his editorial that there’s a monthly get together at the One Tun pub in Saffron Hill near Farringdon station. This seems like it was a lot more difficult to get to than the Fitzroy was later.
Most of the feedback about the Longleat event was in the DWAS fanzine `Tardis`, however co-ordinator David Saunders reflects on it in his CT column and his opinion shows a certain unease some fans had with the event. “I can’t say I found it the best of weekends,” he begins, “personally being used to the more intimate atmosphere of DWAS conventions.” Though he enjoyed some of the guests he adds that “the weather wasn’t the best, the soldiers on duty were in the main reasonable but the attitude of their superiors could be best paralleled with that of a pig. The `cinema` tent was grossly inadequate for even pre-day ticket sales.” He concludes that the event might have been better named `The Doctor Queue Celebration`. The upside is that an influx of new members means the membership fee can be pegged till at least 1985. What he doesn’t mention, but which certainly was talked about at the time, is the preferential treatment afforded some American fans above British ones. The event proved something of a quandary for the DWAS who in the end didn’t have their own big event that year (is that what the missing Tacecon would have been?)
What they did have was a quiz titled Superwho 2 for which the prize is a set visit to a forthcoming story. Being the DWAS there are plenty of rules including the fact that spelling “will count for awarding marks for correct answers”. You must specify which Doctor you’re referring to and some questions will apparently “need some thinking about”. Oh and if you submit your answers on anything other than A4 paper they will be disqualified. Jeepers! Assuming you’re able / happy to agree to these stringent conditions then you have to answer a total of 50 questions. Some of the so called connection questions look easy for example between Hepesh, Autloc and Krasis but is it that they’re all High Priests or that the actors who played them each enjoy building model yachts? You never know. I’d say that most studious fans of 1983- and all fans in 1983 were studious- would get these so presumably the tie break scenario involved spelling, neatness of writing and colour of pen used. Here’s a good one for you- Which stories had these working titles? `A Gamble with Time`, `The Vampires of Space`, `The Mutants`, `The Destructors`, `Sentinel`, `The Space Trap` and `Doctor Who and Pandora’s Box`. Answers should be in Victorian quill deep black ink on a scroll lovingly wrapped in roses and sealed inside an Ormulu Clock. Any answers not received in these conditions will be disqualified!